Faith…Lost and Found

In the Faith Wears Combat Boots? posts, I tackled the topic of faith: defining it, describing it as having feet, as wearing boots, as being able to work for us and through us, as an outward sign of our belief. But what happens when we feel we have lost our faith? What are we to do then? Can faith be lost and found again?

FAITH by DEFINITION1) confidence or trust in a person or thing; 2)  belief that is not based on proof; 3) a belief in anything: God, a religious system, a code of ethics, etc.

Faith and belief are bound together tightly when we say that we have faith in someone or something. The basis of our faith is a deep-seated knowing, a confidence we possess in our hearts and minds which may allude understanding or logical reason. When our faith is put to the test, we rarely welcome that opportunity with open arms. And yet, in order for us to truly KNOW that our FAITH is REAL and VITAL, it is sometimes necessary that we LOSE our FAITH, if only for a while. This loss can seem to us as a death; to lose faith is to feel as one who has been betrayed; or as one who is suddenly orphaned from everything and everyone which gave us sense and reason, trust and security. But maybe we haven’t really lost our faith, perhaps we have simply misplaced it…like our keys…or like the widow’s coin.

Luke 15:8-9 “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses
one. Won’t she 
light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every
nook and cranny until she 
finds it? And when she finds it you can
be sure she’ll call her friends and
neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me!
I found my lost coin!’
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language)

Maybe our loss of faith is necessary to birth a more perfect understanding of faith into our hearts and minds. If our deeply held convictions fail to support us when we need them most, maybe we need to dig around the recesses of our inmost soul to determine what exactly we were believing in the first place.

“If your faith is never tried then your faith can never be trusted!”
       
M.L. Sanchez

To lose faith, may indeed be a gift if the loss causes us to clean the cobwebs out from our initial belief. If the loss moves us to do the work of discovery, of asking ourselves again what we truly believed and had confidence in, then we should not fear the temporary displacement, but rather welcome the occasion for introspection. We should not fear losing the specter of faith which masquerades as authentic ~ a phantom belief must be allowed to blow away when the winds of adversity challenge it. An authentic faith is like the widow’s coin, it can be found when diligently searched for.

Luke 11:10 Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches
will find,
and for the person who knocks, the door will be opened.
(from GOD’S WORD Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations
Bible Society.)

 

Every Day a Test

Who says, “I Love Test Day”? No one ever! For most students, pop quizzes, tests, or final exams usually bring on uncomfortable physical symptoms like sweaty palms and upset stomaches. Athletes often experience similar physical discomforts when they are tested…on race day! Before I started entering running races, I never understood why anyone who runs for fun or fitness would willingly put themselves through the anxiety of running a race. Why would anyone sign up for such distress and discomfort? Well, fast forward a year and I’ve since entered over a dozen running races, and now I think I get the answer to that question. Runners show up for races like students show up for exams–to prove what they have learned…inside and outside of the classroom. Is it possible to look forward to these ‘exam days’ without dread and fear? I believe so; but only if you and I have properly prepared for the test by spending quality time in training or study. How do we know if we are ready for exam day? I know I am ready to be tested when I have confidence…confidence in the quality of my training or my study time. This assurance is not a feeling I try to muster or hope for in order to fake myself out. I either know for certain that I am ready or not; if there is any doubt in my heart or head, then I most certainly know that I am not ready; my sweaty palms and upset stomach is evidence enough. To be tested on the race route, in the classroom, or in our everyday lives, creates something like a finish line for us. The finish line is the terminus of a training cycle or academic semester. It is the culmination of all the days and weeks we have spent absorbing and synthesizing knowledge, whether that knowledge is physical, psychological or spiritual. If we embrace our test days as opportunities to consolidate and prove our training, then we can face the finish line with a confident smile on our face and cheerful exuberance in our heart.
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